CHICKPEA Brownies (no added sugar)

Okay, so I joined the chickpea craze…

Actually, I’ve been on the chickpea craze for a while now…chickpea pasta, chickpea pizza crust, roasted chickpeas, chickpea curry…lot’s of savory chickpea dishes!

I have seen many people make “chickpea blondies”–a healthified, fiber filled dessert…so I decided to make my own version of chickpea blondies + dark cocoa powder…so essentially making brownies!

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According to the USDA food composition database, 1/2 cup of garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas) contains ~135  calories with ~7 grams protein and is a good source of fiber (~6 grams per 1/2 cup, aids in digestion), phosphorus (works with calcium to build bones + teeth), potassium (regulate fluid balance, muscle contractions+nerve signals), folate (forms red blood cells in bone marrow + prevents neural tube defects), and vitamin K (aids in blood clotting).

I promised you all some sugar free + artificial sweetener free dessert recipes–here is one! If you haven’t read “The Sugar Debate” blog yet, take a look before making these brownies! It’ll give you perspective on why we should limit our added sugar intake.

These brownies are sugar FREE, artificial sweetener FREE, vegan, and nutrient dense. Using smashed banana + dates as the main source of natural sweetener + stevia sweetened chocolate chips, you won’t miss the added sugars! Full FREE printable recipe down below. Share with your friends and be sure to tag @livebetterwithkatdetter in your creations!

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Chickpea Brownies

  • Servings: 12 brownies
  • Difficulty: easy peasy
  • Print

Ingredients: 

  • 1 (15 ounce) can of Garbanzo Beans (chickpeas)
  • 10 pitted dates
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3 T cocoa powder, dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup almond butter, unsweetened (or nut butter of choice, almond butter is a neutral flavor)
  • 3 T almond milk, unsweetened
  • 1/4 cup stevia sweetened chocolate chips + 2-3 T to sprinkle on top 🙂

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a high powered blender, add chickpeas, dates, banana, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, almond/nut butter and almond milk and blend until smooth. *NOTE: add more almond milk as needed to blend mixture; batter will be thick
  3. Pour batter into a mixing bowl and add 1/4 cup of chocolate chips.
  4. Pour batter into a lightly greased baking dish and top with more chocolate chips.
  5. Bake for ~30 minutes at 350 F (or until brownies cooked all the way through).
  6. Allow to cool for at least ~30 minutes before cutting and serving.
  7. Enjoy!

 

 

Even my 7 year old nephew loved these brownies–and he has quite the sweet tooth! Your family will love them 🙂

 

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

Registered Dietitian

Follow me on social media!

@livebetterwithkatdetter

 

 

 

References:
  1. Ndb.nal.usda.gov. (2019). Food Composition Databases Show Foods — Chickpeas (garbanzo beans, bengal gram), mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt. [online] Available at: https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/16057 [Accessed 28 May 2019].

The Sugar Debate

Sugar is such a controversial topic not just between fellow dietitians but also within the general public.

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You have the individuals who debate “sugar is sugar, whether it comes from a starchy vegetable or a piece of cake”, the individuals who say “sugar is fine in moderation”, and lastly you have the individuals who refute with “sugar is bad, our bodies need to be in ketosis and we can’t get there if we eat sugar”

Yes, I know these illustrations are pretty dramatic, but I hear these things on a daily basis.  Hopefully after reading my take on added sugars, you’ll have a better understanding of why our diets should not exceed the daily recommendations of added sugars.

What does sugar do to the body?

The obvious answer is that the more sugar you consume, the greater the risk you may develop type II diabetes (or insulin resistance), obesity (primarily an increase in visceral fat), cancer (due to increased inflammation) and elevated triglycerides (which increase the risk of heart attack and stroke).

For general health and wellbeing, in short, added sugar provides simple carbohydrates and calories, but no nutritional benefits. Our bodies do not need added sugars to survive because there is an abundance of plants available that can provide us with complex carbohydrates and fiber we need for metabolism and digestion.

 

What are added sugars?

Essentially, added sugars are syrups or sweeteners that are added to a food item during production or preparation. These do not include the sugars naturally occurring in fruits and dairy products.

Luckily, the American Heart Association (AHA, http://www.heart.org, 2019) has come up with a liberal limit recommendation to help control our sugar consumption. For men, it is recommended that you not exceed 36 grams of added sugar daily (an equivalence of 9 teaspoons). Women, on the other hand, are advised to not exceed 25 grams of added sugar daily (an equivalence to 6 teaspoons).

What are sources of added sugars?

Here is a list of popular added sugars found on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website:

  • anhydrous dextrose
  • brown sugar
  • confectioner’s powdered sugar
  • corn syrup
  • corn syrup solids
  • dextrose
  • fructose
  • high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
  • honey
  • invert sugar
  • lactose
  • malt syrup
  • maltose
  • maple syrup
  • molasses
  • nectars (e.g., peach nectar, pear nectar)
  • pancake syrup
  • raw sugar
  • sucrose
  • sugar
  • white granulated sugar

 

According to the USDA (Choose MyPlate, 2019), the most popular food items that contain added sugars include (but are not limited to):

  • regular soft drinks, energy drinks, and sports drinks
  • candy
  • cakes
  • cookies
  • pies and cobblers
  • sweet rolls, pastries, and donuts
  • fruit drinks (fruit punch)
  • dairy desserts, such as ice cream

Those items may seem like a no-brainer for you…but what about other items that are “deemed” healthy but contain copious amounts of sugar?

 

Here are some packaged foods that contain hidden sugars:

  • breads
  • pasta/pizza sauces
  • condiments such as BBQ sauce, ketchup, teriyaki sauce, etc
  • granola/granola bars
  • cereal (even the “healthy” cereals)
  • flavored oatmeal
  • flavored yogurt
  • nut/soy milks
  • canned foods
  • frozen foods

I call these “hidden sugars” because oftentimes we associate these food items as being “healthy” and do not check the food label. Yogurt (specifically Greek yogurt) is a great source of protein and I encourage many of my clients to choose this for snacks, however, many of the flavored yogurts are packing 15+ grams of added sugar in one serving…that is over half of the recommendation for both men and women!

Choosing the plain yogurts are a smarter option because you can top with fresh fruit to obtain naturally occurring sugars and plenty of fiber to aid in digestion and help you feel satisfied.

Reading the nutrition label for added sugars:

Luckily, most nutrition labels specifically state “added sugars” underneath carbohydrates on the food label, so it is easy for us to determine whether or not that is a smart option for our bodies.

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As you can see in the protein bar above, there are 15 total grams of sugar, but of those sugars, 0 grams are added sugars…this means that all of the sugar in this protein bar is found naturally within the ingredients.

The Controversy:

The controversy many registered dietitians, health professionals, and health promoters alike run into is “banning” sugar and calling sugar “bad”.  You have some professionals who say to honor your sugar cravings and don’t eliminate foods from you diet…you have other professionals who understand how detrimental sugar is for the body and tell you not to ever eat it…so what is the answer?

In my professional and personal opinion, I think it is clear through research that added sugars should definitely be limited or not consumed at all…however, part of life is enjoying the simple things like cake on your birthday or monthly ice cream dates with your spouse.

Over the past year, I have really focused on choosing more whole, plant based food items, ultimately cutting wayyyy down on my added sugar intake. I am also very strict when buying products and choose items that contain less than 5 grams of added sugars per serving (or none at all). Since I have been more conscious of that, my body feels better, my clothes fit better, and my mind is clearer.

I wish I  could say “eat sugar in moderation”, but the problem with that is my moderation may look different than someone else’s moderation…to me, moderation is special occasions, holidays, anniversaries, once a month, sparingly…but to others, moderation may mean once a day…we do not need to be eating cake and m&m’s every day.

My advice to you is to truly choose to eat plant based, whole foods as your primary source of nutrition and on occasion, it is totally fine to indulge in a cookie or piece of cheesecake. There are plenty of ways to naturally sweeten your food and not feel deprived—>but that is a topic for another day 🙂

 

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

Follow me on social media!

 @livebetterwithkatdetter

 

 

References:
  1. http://www.heart.org. (2019). Sugar 101. [online] Available at: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sugar/sugar-101 [Accessed 20 May 2019].
  2. Choose MyPlate. (2019). What are added sugars?. [online] Available at: https://www.choosemyplate.gov/what-are-added-sugars [Accessed 20 May 2019].

 

 

ALMOND JOY Granola

It’s been a hot minute since I made homemade granola! Who else loves a good crunch with a yogurt parfait or on-top of a smoothie bowl? This girl does!

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Granola oftentimes gets a bad rap because many store bought ones are high in fat, calories, and sugar. While all of that is true, you can make granola in the luxury of your own home CHEAPER than you can buy it and you can make it more nutrient dense!

In this recipe, I use old fashioned oats (complex carb + soluble fiber), chia seeds (rich in omega 3 fatty acids + fiber), whole almonds (healthy fat + protein), and dark chocolate (antioxidant) as the base. Some other additives: maple syrup (only 2 tablespoons for the whole batch), unsweetened coconut flakes, stevia sweetened chocolate chips, and coconut oil. Find full FREE printable recipe down below!

NOTE: If you like things a little sweeter, feel free to bump up the maple syrup to 1/4 cup instead of 2-3 tablespoons.

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ALMOND JOY Granola

  • Servings: 8 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup whole almonds
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted + cooled
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2-3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips ( I like using stevia sweetened )

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a bowl, mix oats, chia seeds, almonds, cocoa powder and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix melted coconut oil, vanilla, and maple syrup.
  4. Combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients and mix well.
  5. Pour mixture on to a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes, stirring granola halfway through.
  6. Add in coconut and chocolate chips and bake for additional 5 minutes.
  7. Allow granola to cool for 15 minutes and store in air tight container up to a week.
  8. Enjoy with some mixed berries + yogurt, on top of a smoothie bowl, with milk, or plain!

 

I hope you all enjoy this quick and easy granola recipe!  Add it to your meal prep for breakfast on the go!

 

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

Registered Dietitian

Follow me on social media!

@livebetterwithkatdetter

#livebetterwithkatdetter

10 Minute Ab Workout

We all have fitness goals–and building a strong core is one of mine.

Below you will find a demonstration of 5 different ab workouts with modifications. See instructions for workout below:

**Go your own pace, take breaks when you need it, and feel free to do the modification step.  Even if you’re just starting out, the modifications STILL engage the core and you can still achieve results.

Complete 2 rounds of each exercise for 1 minute each–resulting in a 10 minute workout. Try to complete ab workouts 3-4 times a week for maximum results!

  1. PLANK:

    • Engage the core and try to keep a straight line form (hips are not hanging toward the ground, butt is not up in the air). You may complete these with straight arms (working on the shoulders as well) or with your elbows down (focusing more on core)
    • MODIFICATION: Place knees on the ground, but still engage core (you will still get a great workout)
  2. SUPERMANS:

    • With your body lying front-side, flat on the floor, lift upper and lower halves of body (kind of like you are flying like superman). You may bend arms or keeps arms straight.
    • MODIFICATION: I find bending arms is a little easier, make sure you continue squeezing those muscles!
  3. BICYCLES:

    • Lying on your back, bring opposite elbow to opposite knee while keeping your belly button in and core engaged.
    • MODIFICATION: The higher you raise your legs, the easier the exercise will be, but still effective!
  4. LEG RAISES:

    • A little advanced, this exercise works the full abdominal region. In a back-lying position, keeping your legs straight, simply raise them slow and controlled up and down–really engage the core and try not to lose form.
    • MODIFICATION: Place your hands under the small of your back (this will help control the core easier).
  5. PENGUINS:

    • Lying on your back with knees bent, use your hand to reach to the back of your heels (working the oblique muscles).
    • MODIFICATION: The closer you bring your heels in to your butt, the easier this exercise will be.

 

 

I hope you all enjoy this workout! Make sure to tag me @livebetterwithkatdetter or #livebetterwithkatdetter if you try it.

 

 

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

Registered Dietitian

Follow me on social media!
@livebetterwithkatdetter

Fresh Pico de Gallo

With summer just around the corner and gardens beginning to produce an abundance of fresh veggies and herbs, I decided to share my pico de gallo recipe.  Summer is the season of cookouts, BBQ’s, and grilling, and I guarantee this salsa will be a crowd favorite.

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About a year ago, I learned how to make this pico from a coworker who is from Guatemala.  I never made fresh pico de gallo before, and I was surprised that I liked it because I am not a big fan of tomatoes or cilantro…but combined with limes, jalepeno, and onion, this fresh pico is addictive.

And of course, pico de gallo is naturally nutritious! Tomatoes contain lycopene which is a powerful antioxidant (fights free radicals in the body to prevent  cancer and chronic diseases), onion (high in fiber, vitamin C, folate and potassium), cilantro (vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, fiber), and lime (vitamin C).

Full, FREE printable recipe below and make sure to tag @livebetterwithkatdetter and use #livebetterwithkatdetter in your creations!

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Fresh Pico de Gallo

  • Servings: 6-8 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 4 Roma Tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 Vidalia Onion, diced
  • 2 Jalepenos, seeded + diced
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Cilantro, finely chopped
  • 3 Limes, juiced
  • Salt + Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Wash produce. Thinly slice and dice Roma tomatoes (I also de-seeded tomatoes, completely optional). Add to serving bowl.
  2. Dice 1/2 vidalia onion and add to tomatoes in serving bowl.
  3. Slice jalepenos in half. Using a spoon, scoop out jalepeno seeds (you may keep the seeds if you want extra heat). Dice peppers and add to tomatoes + onion in serving bowl.
  4. Finely chop fresh cilantro and add to other ingredients in serving bowl.
  5. Juice 3 limes into ingredient bowl.
  6. Add salt + pepper to taste.
  7. Marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight to enhance the flavors.
  8. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips or fresh veggies.

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Tikki approves, too! 🙂 I hope you all enjoy this fresh summer recipe! The leftovers are perfect for work lunches, too!

 

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

Registered Dietitian

Follow me on social media!

@livebetterwithkatdetter

Inside My Herb Garden: Basil

This is my first year cultivating an herb garden! Mind you, it is a super small scale herb garden, but I am so excited to have fresh herbs to add to my dishes.

I have various kinds of herbs in my garden, but today I want to highlight basil. I have THREE types of basil in my garden right now: sweet basil, Thai basil and purple basil.

 

Sweet Basil

Arguably the most popular form of basil, sweet basil is well known for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties–making this herb perfect for anti-aging and decreasing chances of chronic diseases. This flavorful herb is used in many different cuisines but primarily known for Italian cooking such as pesto, bruschetta, caprese and various pasta dishes.

Sweet basil is rich in vitamin A (eye + skin health), vitamin K (healthy gut microbe), vitamin C (antioxidant + wound healing + immunity), magnesium (aids in metabolism), iron (transports oxygen), potassium (aids blood pressure), and calcium (cardiac function + blood clotting + strong bones). Adding a few fresh leaves of basil to your dishes will not only add freshness but will also boost the nutritional content of your meal.

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Thai Basil

Have you ever gone to a Thai restaurant and ordered a “Basilia” dish? You might be eating Thai Basil! Just like the name states, Thai Basil is an herb used in most Southeast Asia cuisines–especially Thai. Infused in many curries, sauteed with meats and veggies, or simply used for a garnish, Thai Basil is mildly sweet with a little more of a bitter, licorice-like bold flavor than sweet basil. In most recipes, Thai Basil can be substituted for sweet basil, making them interchangeable.

The nutrition profile of Thai Basil is similar to that of sweet basil being rich in vitamin A (eye + skin health) and vitamin C (antioxidant + wound healing + immunity) as well as vitamin E (antioxidant + skin health).

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Purple Basil

In all honesty, I had never heard of purple basil until I planted it in my garden! The deep, rich purple color is a nice accent to my other herbs, and it smells divine–quite similar to other basil family members. While there are similarities of this herb to other basil plants, this herb is more earthy, less sweet, and comparable to the flavor of cloves. Purple basil is primarily used for infusing oils and vinegar as well as garnishing dishes.

This herb is nutritionally comparable to other basil, meaning it is high in anti-aging and anti-cancer properties. In general, purple plants are high in anthocyanins, which are antioxidants that may offer anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-cancer benefits.

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Incorporating basil into diet ideas:

  • make your own homemade basil pesto (traditionally made with olive oil +pine nuts + basil)
  • toss with other mixed greens + veggies for a salad
  • homemade salad dressing using fresh or dried basil
  • saute with veggies
  • add to pasta dishes
  • top fresh pizza
  • caprese salad with mozzarella balls + fresh basil + grape tomatoes all tossed in olive oil
  • combine with watermelon + feta for a refreshing summer salad
  • make a panini with fresh basil + mozzarella + tomato
  • freshen your water with basil + lemon
  • infuse olive oil with purple basil for a strong, aromatic flavor

 

As summer approaches and my garden starts producing large quantities of herbs, I will share some of my favorite recipes and harvesting hacks–this is all new to me, so I will be learning along the way! If you have any harvesting tips or tricks for me, comment below or contact me here. 

 

 

What is your favorite way to use basil?

 

 

 

Until Next Time,

 Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

Registered Dietitian

Follow me on social media!

@livebetterwithkatdetter

 

 

References:
  1. Karen Gill, M. (2019). Basil: Uses, benefits and nutrition. [online] Medical News Today. Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266425.php [Accessed 1 May 2019].
  2. Anon, (2019). [online] Available at: https://www.nutriliving.com/foods/thai-basil [Accessed 1 May 2019].
  3.  I Love Gardening. (2019). All About Purple Basil. [online] Available at: https://www.igardenplanting.com/all-about-purple-basil/ [Accessed 1 May 2019].